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Graduate Student Information

Guidance & Resource InformationGraduate student training video:

Are you new to the IRB process? Did you miss the last scheduled IRB Graduate Student Training? Look no further! Check out this video!

At OU, the Institutional Review Board (IRB) and Graduate College (GC) work together to help graduate students meet graduation requirements. Prior to filing your thesis/dissertation, you may need to provide documentation to the Graduate College that you have received IRB approval for your human subjects research activities (HSR) and that your involvement in the research project as a graduate student has been officially terminated. The process to do this is described below:

Event 1: Determining if your Research is Subject to IRB Review

If you are uncertain whether you will be conducting humans subjects research (HSR), then you can use the Determination of Human Subjects Research Worksheet to find out. This worksheet is available online at The form asks you a few simple questions and requires you to describe your proposed research activity, how you plan to obtain the data, and what you plan to do with the data.

After the IRB makes the HSR determination, you will receive a letter through the iRIS system. If the project is determined to be HSR, then you will need to start the IRB application process. Instructions for completing the Determination of Human Research Worksheet are available at  "How to..." Instructional Guide.

Doctoral students should complete this worksheet after their general exam and once the topic of their dissertation has been determined. Master's students should complete this worksheet after their program of study has been completed.

  • If your work involves human subjects research, and is therefore subject to IRB review, please note the events outlined below which require action on your part.
  • If your work does not involve human subjects research, the events outlined below will not apply to your research project.

Event 2: Filing your Request to Defend Thesis/Dissertation

When you file the request for defense form with the Graduate College, be sure to check the box indicating your work was subject to IRB review. If you do have IRB approval for HSR, then you are reminded that you will need to contact the IRB prior to filing your thesis or dissertation.

Event 3: Filing your thesis/dissertation in the library

When you take your final version of the thesis/dissertation to the Graduate College in preparation for filing the thesis/dissertation in the OU library, you will also need to submit a letter from the IRB indicating that your involvement as a graduate student in the research project is officially terminated. To get this letter, you need to take one of three actions.

  1. if you are listed as the PI on a study, you need to submit a Closure Request within iRIS, or
  2. if you are not listed as PI, but are listed as Key Study Personnel, the PI will need to submit a Modification/Notification Form (with a revised application) to have you removed from the study as a graduate student researcher, or,
  3. in some cases, you may be continuing your research after you graduate - either at OU or at another research institution. If you wish to do this,  contact the IRB directly to get a different type of letter for you to submit to the Graduate College. Please allow additional time for this request before filing.

IMPORTANT NOTE:  You cannot get a letter confirming that your involvement on the study as a graduate student researcher has been terminated until all the data analysis has been completed and you will not be making any further revisions to the human subjects data reported in your thesis/dissertation. For this reason, we recommend waiting until AFTER your defense to inactivate the study or submit a modification to remove your name from the application. However, the forms noted above take time to submit, process, and approve, so please allow yourself adequate time prior to depositing your thesis/dissertation.


  • CITI Training - All key study personnel listed on the application must be active on their CITI training. Please see the Required Education (CITI) page for more details.
  • iRIS: The OU IRB Electronic Submission System - We offer optional training sessions to become familiar with the electronic submission system. Please contact us to schedule training: NOTE: This training does not replace the required CITI training.
  • Graduate Student Training Session - The IRB will offer a training session that will cover the IRB submission and approval process for graduate student research. We will offer this training session in the fall and spring semesters. Please check the IRB website regularly for updates on the dates/times for these sessions.

For More Information, please contact the Office of Human Research Participant Protection/IRB at (405) 325-8110 or email: OR refer to the following reference links: 

  • iRIS Electronic Submission System:
  • For general questions, please refer to the "How to..." section on the IRB website.
  • We offer "Help" sessions on Fridays from 3pm-4pm to address any questions/concerns regarding the submission forms. Also, we offer the opportunity to schedule an appointment to meet with you (and Faculty Sponsor) to discuss your proposed project. Please call our office to schedule an appointment time.